RSS
TwitterFacebookGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn

Contractor Tip of the Month – July 2014

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Contractor Tip of the Month

Have you huddled your team up lately, to insure they know what to do in the toughest of times? Bill Gates says that, to be successful, one of the most important things a company can do is to have two planning retreats per year, so your whole team knows the strategy for how you plan to play the game.

It’s Sunday, and my muscles are recuperating from our annual company outing. We played golf on Friday, listened to live music Friday night, and organized a fishing derby, soccer and games for the employees’ kids Saturday. For the grown-ups, we played basically no rules, just for fun, backyard volleyball for several hours. Okay, this is the Lang Enterprises outing. We played basically no rules, just for fun, backyard volleyball, for keeps.

Two of my top managers and I picked the teams. This was for bragging rights among the employees, so the trash talk began. Hoss, who is Lang Masonry’s operations manager, chose a volleyball team that annihilated the other teams all afternoon. Right before the final match, they smoked my team again, in a hard-to-swallow 15-2 defeat. With the third team giving up, we asked for a rematch. Again, Hoss’s team was killing us, pinning us down at 12-5. Somehow we managed to get the serve back. With our equipment/yard manager Kelly Duff serving, we made three or four points in a row.

Fueling the team, I started yelling, “We have them shook,” over and over. The rally continued, and my team started to get the philosophy that Hoss’s team was all shook up. “Don’t slow down for nothing,” I pumped. At 12 to 12, Hoss finally hollered, “Huddle, huddle, slow this thing down!” I intercepted, “No, you can’t call a huddle, we haven’t had a huddle all day.”

We went on. After another point, our human resource director’s daughter, who was on Hoss’s team, faked a hurt foot to try and slow play down again. It was a clever attempt for a 13-year-old. My team and I started hollering, “She isn’t hurt, play ball!” We played on, and my team went on to win the game 15-13.

alt
Lang Masonry’s Annual Outing – The Volley Ball Game

Later that night, all were licking wounds over some relaxing drinks, and reflecting on the matches. Hoss argued that if we would have let him have time to huddle, he could have gotten his team’s heads back on straight, to kick our asses, like they had done all day long. Laughing, we agreed that he was probably right, but told him that was his problem, since he never got it done. And, because we won the last game, we were ultimately the champs. It was a bonding day for Lang employees.

Taking a lesson many years ago from Bill Gates’ playbook, I have made it a point to call a huddle each year, by having a planning retreat for all Lang companies. We hire a professional facilitator, get off site at least two hours from the office, and stay overnight. We discuss current and long-term goals. Each manager in attendance develops his or her own action plan, as to how he or she will help the company reach agreed upon, common goals. The affect of the huddle is amazing. Estimators start bidding the size and type of jobs that align with our goals; project managers hire people and prepare jobs in a way that align with our goals; our human resource director develops or changes policies that align with our goals; our CFO gets bonding and lines of credit in place that align with our goals; and I find myself coaching in a way that aligns with our goals. This huddle keeps us from getting shook in the middle of a big game!

Things are humming, the economy is improving, and better times are coming! Now is the time to huddle your team, and make a plan to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. Without a strategic plan, your people may get flustered and not know what to do in the heat of your upcoming battles.


Damian Lang owns and operates four companies in Ohio. He is the inventor of the Grout Hog—Grout Delivery System, Mud Hog mortar mixers, Hog Leg wall bracing system and several other labor saving devices used in the masonry industry. He is the author of the book “RACE—Rewarding And Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry.” He writes for Masonry Magazine each month and consults with many of the leading mason contractors in the country.

All rights reserved, © 2014 Damian Lang, President of Lang Masonry Contractors, Inc., and EZ Grout Corp.

Related Posts

  • 38
    It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Big Kid Scores By “Coach” Gary Micheloni A Little League basketball game in which my grandson was playing got me thinking. Like any team, it had some really good players, some mediocre players, and some not-so-good players. In this league, every kid has to play…
    Tags: game, team, play, played, masonry
  • 33
    November 2014 Contractor Tip of the Month You Make the Call By Damian Lang Have you ever listened to fans cheering for their team at a sports event? Take a basketball game. Make it high school with a family member or friend playing out on the court. With emotions running…
    Tags: company, masonry, lang, month, team
  • 30
    Know the Score to Win the Game By George Hedley Playing a sport without knowing the score doesn’t bring out the best in your players. Imagine coaching a basketball team without keeping score. You would put in the best players you have, call plays designed to outscore the opponent, and…
    Tags: goals, company, game, team

MASONRY MAGAZINE VIDEO NEWS

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

John Smith, Jr.

John Smith, Jr. receives the 2015 MCAA C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner (First Year), Masonry Skills Challenge

Synpro Products

Masonry Magazine Video News Interview: Michael Goyne

Hydro Mobile Inc

Interview with Kevin O'Shea of Hydro Mobile, Inc.

Interview with Mark Kemp – Chairman, MCAA

Interview with Masonry Contractors Association of America Chairman, Mark Kemp

Mortar Net Solutions

Interview with Steve Fechino from Mortar Net Solutions

Pullman Ermator

Interview with Lyndon Kelsey of Pullman Ermator

Keene Building Products

Interview with Jim O'Neill of Keene Building Products